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Final Weekend: Coquitlam Home & Home

Caleb Thompson and the Chiefs came up just short against PG last week. Photo: Darren Francis

Caleb Thompson and the Chiefs came up just short against PG last week. Photo: Darren Francis

Chilliwack Chiefs (13-36-2-5, 5th in Mainland Division) VS Coquitlam Express (26-25-2-3, 3rd in Mainland Division) (Friday, February 28th, Porier Centre –  6:30pm pregame/7 pm faceoff on 89.5 The Drive)

Well…this is it. Two games left before everyone’s outta here for the offseason, and in some cases, forever.

But before we get to that, there’s two games to play, starting tonight in Coquitlam, as the Chiefs battle the Express in a home and home weekend set.

Let’s be real here – Not much has gone right for the Chiefs this season. What’s left to play for is pride at this point, and I think there will be some extra emotion throughout the room in the final two days. Kiefer McNaughton, Tanner Cochrane, Andrew Silard, Mathieu Tibbet, and Cody Bardock are finishing up their Junior careers. That kind of emotion always comes out once the season’s over, and we’ll see it carry to the ice over the next 48 hours.

You’ve also got players playing for next year, be it a spot in the Chiefs lineup come September, somewhere else in the BCHL, the dub, or collegiately. Two games left of ‘auditions’ if you will. That’s meaningful, too.

The Express are trying to gather some cliched ‘momentum’ going into the postseason. They haven’t exactly lit the world on fire or anything lately – three wins in their last ten games, and their record sees them sitting at just a game over .500.

That said, Coquitlam has taken four of six from the Chiefs in the season series.  The last two games were iced by the Express with go-ahead/insurance goals in the dying moments. If Chilliwack can (I’ve said this 1500 times this year) take care of their own end first and make that commitment in the D-zone, they should be in good shape. Coquitlam’s in a playoff spot thanks to their depth and scoring touch up front. The Pieper boys, Cody Boyd, Corey Mackin, Adam Rockwood, Ryan Rosenthal, and Joey Santucci can all fill the net. Cannon Pieper and Rosenthal are over 30 goals, and three others have cracked the 20 goal plateau.

The Chiefs aren’t nearly as explosive individually, but they’ve put the puck in the net quite a bit over the last few weeks – 37 goals in eight games during the month of February. That’s 4.6 GF a clip, blowing their season average of 3.32 out of the water.

Mathieu Tibbet has been a big part of that surge, and when it comes to individual milestones, I’ll be curious to see if he can hit the 30 goal plateau. He’s sitting at 27 for the moment, and is working on a three game goal scoring streak, including the five point outburst two weeks back in the comeback over Surrey. He’s found the net in the last three Express games. It’s possible.

I’ll be honest – it sucks not being able to ‘look forward’ to the postseason, but these last two games still mean alot of things to alot of people. I just hope that translates to the ice for the next couple days before things go quiet for a little while.

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